Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, has been jailed for nine months in Iran. He is facing charges of “conducting propaganda against the establishment,” “collaborating with hostile governments,” and “collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent.” He is facing 10 to 20 years in prison.
Rezaian, 39, worked first as a freelance writer and transitioned into the Post’s Tehran correspondent. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi and two other journalists were also imprisoned. All have since been released, but Salehi is waiting for trial on the same type of charges.
In the U.S., every citizen has the right to due process. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments include due process clauses. Due process allows each citizen the right to a fair trial, right to speak to their lawyer, and protection from imprisonment under false charges. Unfortunately, Rezaian is in a country where due process does not exist. He was sent to jail under false charges, has been blocked from speaking to his lawyer, and most likely his trial will be in the governments favor. Iran has failed in providing any evidence that would justify Rezaian’s incarceration, but still stand by the decision to keep him in custody.
Washington has pushed Iran to let Rezaian free, but to no avail. Obama said “the government would not rest until the journalist is freed” at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
The Post’s Executive Editor Martin Baron calls the charges “ludicrous” and thinks Jason’s work possibly leading to “espionage or otherwise posed any threat to Iranian national security” is “despicable to assert.”